Round trays are carried amongst a sea of lavish dresses and proud chins, offering assortments of champagne, wine and localised, aesthetically pleasing snacks which, to me, almost appeared too good to eat:- ‘almost’ being the operative word.
Rich alto sounds from Sax as improvisational jazz plays and quiet excitement reverberates from guests as they explore the sights, stalls and innovations that are set out to be discovered. Ethnic foods, drink and contraptions originating from one European country to the next, fitting with the theme – The Heart of Europe.
To be present at the prodigious Stallwächterparty is something remarkable:- you are amongst the elite. Esteemed politicians, entrepreneurs and representatives of economy, as well as renowned artists from film, television and theatre. No other event that I know of would give you the opportunity to meet and speak with these high-ranking individuals in such an affable, easy-going environment.
Let me tell you a little about the origins of the event:- since 1964, Stallwächterparty has been held as an annual summer party, in celebration of the upcoming parliamentary summer break. Following the invitation of the Prime Minister and the federal state representation of Baden-Wurttemberg, over 1,800 eminent guests are in attendance. The mixture of enlightening experiences and exciting networking opportunities make this one of the most important events in the federal capital. As the unit of invited bloggers – and myself – are lead on a tour of Landesvertretung Baden-Württemberg (the administration of Baden-Württemberg), this stood emphatically at the forefront of my mind. I think to myself, “I, mere and little in comparison to the colourful and prospering personalities I stand beside, stand beside them still. How in the world has this happened?” Honoured and a little giddy from the privilege, I glided on, absorbing ubiquitous spirit, scent and spectacles.
The reason I was invited was to represent Northern Ireland in collaboration with the theme, ‘The Heart of Europe”. Essentially, this is a celebration of the coalition between Baden-Württemberg and other European countries, and how one would not be able to thrive without the other. Naturally, I startled at the sentiment and found myself feeling a little sad. As a socialist and a remainer, the omnipresent threat of Brexit is an emotional battle with worries of epidemic suffering that it will cause if we do, in fact, leave the European Union on the 31st October. How chillingly fitting, to schedule a national nightmare to occur on All Hallow’s Eve. Powerful media manipulation is driving the British elite’s agenda into total neo-liberalism. Flooding us with private American companies and stripping us of assets. The putting up of walls and borders rather than building bridges, to me, seems distressingly targeted and regressive. And what of our next British Prime Minister? He will be selected by just 0.3% of the public, or, more specifically, by the conservative membership. Then, despite this, to be welcomed so warmly by the state representation of Baden-Württemberg and unite unanimously in their celebration of Europe’s collective assemblage of values and successes. The progression of sharing and exploring new ideas to shape our economic community for the better begins in the hearts of its inhabitants who deeply seek the sculpting of Europe from within. Yes, it made me feel a little sad indeed. Though, with the mixture of melodic music and the hubble-bubble of guests intermingling and exploring the varied programme of the event, it was hard to remain in that particular frame of mind.
To be an aspiring journalist, I am beginning to find, is to be swept along in a sea of unfamiliarity. In order to keep your head above water, it is imperative to not fight against the tide but, rather, relax in the knowledge that you will wash up exactly where you need to be. Saying ‘yes’ is important, to be open to new adventures that at first seem frightening and a little out of your comfort zone. Above all, communication and the hankering for knowledge is key. To stay humble in a tumultuous world is both art and a blessing, from which rewards will always be bestowed through experiences that appear somewhat unbelievable. You may find yourself amongst a sea of lavish dresses and proud chins, graciously accepting a glass of champagne from a round platter and mingling amongst innovative individuals, in a country you always dreamt of visiting.
Danke, Stallwachterparty. It was an honour and pleasure.